Scorers-by-necessity: A look at secondary scorers providing first line points

Michael Ryder is having a career year with the Dallas Stars. This is a surprise, though it really shouldn’t have been.

When Ryder signed a two-year deal last summer with the Stars worth $3.5 million annually, he elevated himself from a third-line, secondary scorer on a Boston Bruins team with plenty of offensive weapons, to a first-line winger on a team that was losing star forward, Brad Richards, to free agency. Ryder was expected to become a primary scorer, a signing that would essentially have to replace the same point production that was lost when Richards left for the New York Rangers.

That’s right—Ryder, who surpassed 60 points only once, his rookie year in 2003-04 with Montreal, was supposed to replace the production of Richards, a player who’s only had one season out of ten under 60 points, an injury-plagued year in 2008-09 where he played only 56 games.

No surprise, then, that Ryder has 35 goals and 27 assists for 62 points with Dallas while Richards has 24 goals and 37 assists for 61 points with New York in the same amount of games played. Funny how that happens.